Moving People To Be Accountable
In your next staff meeting, ask people the definition of accountability. You will typically get an answer variation of “do what you say you’re going to do”, or “own your mistakes”. The beauty of this typical belief is that there is an easy out. If you don’t say you are going to do something then you are not accountable of not doing it, even if you should have.
The more narrow the definition one has for accountability, the easier it is to consider oneself accountable. However, when you broaden the definition of accountability, that’s when the cracks show up and people start falling short. The point, if you want to improve accountability within the organization and reveal to people that they have improvements to make, then broaden the definition of accountability so the gaps show up. Consider these measures of accountability below. If you answer no to any of them, then you have some work to do. You may consider yourself to be accountable, but in the broader definition:
• If you have high turnover in your department and it is costing the organization dearly, you could be more accountable.
• If your team keeps derailing because you don’t have the guts to engage in conflict, you could be more accountable.
• If you have emotionally written off another team member because of that one thing they do that you don’t like, and as a result goals are not getting met, you could be more accountable.
• If your bad hire drove other productive people out of the organization, you could be more accountable.
• If you consider yourself the ultimate leader in no need of improvement you are probably the only one who doesn’t see you could be more accountable.
• If you don’t delegate to develop people because you want the accolades of a job well done, you could be more accountable.
• If you make quick rash decisions that change frequently or make slow decisions that miss opportunities for the organization, you could be more accountable.
• If your inability to forgive or be transparent damages trust on the team, you have room to improve your accountability.
Folks the list goes on and on and on. Accountability is a huge word with a huge meaning resulting in huge impacts to people and organizations. If anybody defines accountability as “doing what you say you’re going to do” and they leave it at that, they reveal to the world that they have some accountability work to do.